9 Hottest Product Manager Jobs in 2020

9 Hottest Product Manager Jobs in 2020

If you’re in the hunt for product manager jobs, you’re not alone. 

The product management field has been growing rapidly in the last years.

As someone's who worked in product management and is a partner of Product Manager HQ (28,000+ product manager members) I've learned a lot about the product manager career path.

Since 2017, the number of product management roles has grown by more than 32%

number of product manager jobs
Credits to Medium

However, this doesn’t mean that getting the dream job in PM will be easy.

As products become more complex, the capabilities necessary to manage them become more complex as well.

As a result, product management jobs become more competitive every day. 

But this also doesn’t mean you won’t get the job you want. 

There are options out there, and all you need to do is understand how to leverage your background. 

Product Manager Job Description

The product manager is the person who manages the engineering team's direction in building and marketing products. This means they help a company achieve better product market fit.

You will find product managers with a software engineering background that often use their coding expertise on the job. 

But you will also find product managers with a marketing background that never wrote a line of code, and will tell you that the product management job is all about strategizing around processes. 

And I can tell you that both can be extremely successful product managers -- if they know how to match their expertise with the right job.

Product management involves three different branches: strategic product management, product marketing management, and technical product management.

Small companies tend to have a small team with employees wearing many hats and owning many -- if not all -- the responsibilities of the product management job.

Larger organizations tend to have a full product team, with individuals from different backgrounds and various levels of expertise. 

Bigger teams allow for more specialized hiring. 

The reality is, there are many nuances in product management-related roles. Titles can be vague, and the tasks frequently change from company to company.

This can make it hard to plan your career. 

But I’ve got you covered. Let’s simplify this.

Best Product Management Jobs

We can use three criteria to analyze product management roles:

  1. Job Hierarchy Level
  2. Ideal Background (technical vs. strategic knowledge) 
  3. Role Focus (internal vs. external focus)

Let’s dive into the most common product management roles you will find out there:

1. Associate Product Manager

This is the most entry-level it gets. 

In most cases, associate product managers (APM) report to product managers or group product managers.

It is common for larger companies, such as Google, to make this job a rotational program. The APM spends periods of time with several PM specialists in the company before making the next career move.

The associate product management job is ideal for fresh graduates looking to start a career in product management. 

This gives the APM the opportunity to operate both on the internal aspect of PM -- working with the engineering team to develop the product lines -- communicating with customers to identify their needs and improve user experience.

Job Hierarchy Level: Entry-level role

Ideal Background: Basic level of both strategic and technical knowledge 

Role Focus: The role involves both internal and external focus

2. Product Manager 

This is the most common job title you will see out there. Consequently, the job description can vary a lot -- as well as the salary range.

Overall, a product manager position is balanced when it comes to the focus of the role.

This means that the product manager is responsible for the entire product lifecycle -- from crafting the product strategy to the tactical execution of product requirements. 

This role is best for individuals with broad knowledge, that feel comfortable managing the product responsibilities from start to finish. 

The experience required for this position depends on the product and on the impact that it makes on users.

Startups usually require between one and two years of experience while some other companies require more than five years. 

Job Hierarchy Level: Entry-level or middle-level role

Ideal Background: Both strategic and technical knowledge 

Role Focus: The job involves both internal and external responsibilities

3. Technical Product Manager

Take the product manager job and add a pinch of technical know-how  -- you get the technical product manager role.

The technical product manager job requires knowledge of basic software development concepts. A person working on this position must understand what’s involved in the product development, how complex it is, and what’s needed from the engineering team to bring the product to the market or adding new product features.

That makes the position attractive for individuals with engineering, computer science, or IT background, as they have an easier time making the transition.

This role has an internal focus -- technical product managers work with product designers and highly-skilled engineers in these industries, who sometimes have PhDs. 

Job Hierarchy Level: Entry-level or middle-level role

Ideal Background: Technical knowledge 

Role Focus: The job has an internal focus

4. Product Marketing Manager

This role sits at the intersection of traditional marketing and product management. 

A product marketing manager (PMM) is in charge of developing and implementing strategies that communicate a product’s value to a given audience. Therefore, it’s not a technical role.

Because product marketing is based on solid marketing processes, the ideal person for this role has a marketing background. 

This role is rarely found in small companies. The PMM’s responsibilities are divided into the core marketing team and the product manager in this case.

In larger companies, it’s common to see multiple product marketing managers. When this happens, there’s one product marketing manager dedicated to each product.  

Job Hierarchy Level: Entry-level or middle-level role

Ideal Background: Strategic knowledge 

Role Focus: The job has an external focus

5. Product Owner

The product owner’s job is similar to the technical product manager job. That means a lot of technical responsibilities.

As this is a scrum development role, you will often see this position for companies using Agile product development. 

A product owner's responsibilities include prioritization of user stories from the backlog, support the development team, and scrum processes management.

The product owner role is perfect for product managers with a lot of technical expertise and with experience in the Agile ecosystem. 

This role might be the perfect next step on a technical PM’s career since companies hiring product owners require at least a few years of technical product management experience.

Job Hierarchy Level: Middle-level role

Ideal Background: Technical knowledge 

Role Focus: The job has an internal focus

6. Group Product Manager

As the job title implies, the group product manager (GPM) is responsible for leading a product team that is in charge of a specific group of products. 

This is the non-executive product role with more authority within the company. Other product managers often report to the group product manager. The GPM role is equivalent to a Sr. Product Manager role in some companies. 

Product managers who thrive in the strategic part of PM and have excellent people skills are an excellent fit for this role.

Daily responsibilities include market research, strategy implementation, and product development. 

In large companies, the strategy is crafted by the product’s executive team. But in some cases, the GPM is responsible for crafting the strategy. 

Because this role involves a lot of strategy-management, the group project managers are often required to have at least a few years of industry experience, besides the field experience.

Job Hierarchy Level: Middle-level role

Ideal Background: Strategic knowledge 

Role Focus: The job involves both internal and external responsibilities

7. Director of Product Management

The Director of Product Management role is a senior position that requires not only substantial product experience but also strong leadership skills. Some companies call the person acting on this role the Head of Product.

In larger organizations, the Director of Product Management reports to the VP of Product while in smaller companies, to the CEO. 

This position’s responsibilities include defining the product vision, overseeing the product roadmap, collaborating with other team’s directors -- including engineering, sales, marketing, and operations departments -- supporting the product team, and ensuring that the company's strategy is aligned with product’s strategy.

Candidates for this role must have at least 10 years of experience performing as a leader in product management and have a track record of building successful new products.

This position is more of a strategic than a technical role, but it is a blend of an internal and external focus. 

Job Hierarchy Level: Senior-level role

Ideal Background: Both strategic and technical knowledge 

Role Focus: The job involves both internal and external responsibilities

8. Vice President of Product 

The Vice President of Product, or just VP of Product, shapes how the work gets done, rather than being involved in more specific product decisions.

In startups, this is the most senior product person. With that, companies tend to require 12 or more years of experience. 

This role is for exceptional product professionals that have the ability to influence people.  

Success in this role comes from a dominance of the product life cycle and the ability to be constantly reinforcing product marketing fundamentals with the team.

A VP of Product takes care of large initiatives and is constantly going after what will create the most value to the organization. 

Their responsibilities also include managing the team’s budget and keeping cross-functional teams aligned. 

VPs of Product often have an important voice on discussing strategy aspects, and in some companies, they even participate in key decisions, such as M&A activities.

Job Hierarchy Level: Senior-level role

Ideal Background: Both strategic and technical knowledge 

Role Focus: The job involves both internal and external responsibilities

9. Chief Product Officer

The Chief Product Officer position (CPO) is the ultimate product role in an individual's career. If you want to climb the corporate ladder in the product field, this is where you should aim.

CPO’s are found in larger companies and often manage multiple product management teams. They represent product in the C-suite and are responsible for overall product strategy. 

Chief Product Officers coordinate the alignment of the company’s vision and strategy with each product’s vision.

The product architecture is also the CPO’s responsibility.

A lot of experience is not enough to become a Chief Product Officer -- CPOs must also have years of proven success in the field. 

Even though the CPO’s job has a strategic and managerial character, the person for this job must master every aspect of product management -- including technical particularities on the development process.

Job Hierarchy Level: Senior-level role

Ideal Background: Both strategic and technical knowledge 

Role Focus: The job involves both internal and external responsibilities

How to Find the Best Product Management Jobs

Once you figure out what is the perfect job for you within product management, it’s time to go after it. 

In centers with huge tech companies such as San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle, it’s common to see even more variations of product management jobs. 

There are a number of resources you can use to find the right job for you.  

You can scan through job websites such as Indeed, Glassdoor, Zip Recruiter. You can even set a job alert on LinkedIn for your top-favorite companies.

Another option is working with a recruiter to maximize your opportunities.

Keep in mind that it might be challenging to land your first full-time job with no relevant experience. 

To avoid going through this dilemma you can start off as a freelancer. Through websites such as Upwork, Guru, and Fiverr you can find awesome opportunities to work on product projects and increase your confidence as a product manager.

Land Your Ideal Product Management Job

The first step in getting the perfect product management job is understanding how to leverage your background and level of experience.  

If you have a technical background, you should consider being either a Group Product Manager or a Technical Product Manager, for example. You can also consider a general product management position in a company that builds digital products.

If you have a business background, a Product Marketing Management position will suit you better. 

The reality is, it doesn't matter what your background is, there is a job in product management for every level and type of expertise. 

Find the perfect fit and start your way up to become an awesome product leader.